Press release

We need to develop a comprehensive registry of Ireland’s vacant and derelict housing

24th May 2022
This could be a home - image of a young family infront of a derelict building

Steven Matthews TD, Green Party spokesperson on Planning and Local Government and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage today (24th May) launched the Committee’s report on urban regeneration, including key issues around derelict and vacant buildings.

Deputy Matthews stated;

“The blight of derelict and vacant properties across the country is obvious for everyone to see, while at the same time we are in the midst of a housing crisis. The report published today contains 39 recommendations covering penalties for vacancy and dereliction with reasonable exceptions, compulsory purchase orders and supports to assist building owners to refurbish and re-use their properties. Critically, the report recognises the wider needs of urban regeneration including public transport, jobs, housing and climate – all the requirements for restoring our town centres that will make them attractive and vibrant places for people to live.

“Today, I also will also be introducing a bill to the Dáil to address these very matters and to tighten up the Derelict Sites Act. For far too long planning and development has focused on sprawling, greenfield and one-off housing that is car dependent and extremely costly in provision of infrastructure, transport, and services. This area is complex and cannot be solved overnight but I look forward to working with Ministers Darragh O’Brien and Pascal Donohoe in relation to progressing the recommendations within the report and the bill.”

One of the main recommendations in today’s report is that the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Local Authorities should develop dedicated units to concentrate on vacancy and dereliction with proper data collection.

Francis Duffy TD, Green Party Spokesperson on Housing and member of the Housing Committee said;

“While it is estimated that there are up to 132,000 vacant properties in the country, we need to develop a full picture of Ireland’s vacant and derelict housing. This would include a centralised, publicly accessible Derelict Sites Register that Revenue would use to apply taxation measures. A Vacant Homes Tax with reasonable exemptions will also be applied by Revenue, with the income generated by both taxes being used to acquire, refurbish and provide affordable secure homes to live within our towns.”

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While it is estimated that there are up to 132,000 vacant properties in the country, we need to develop a full picture of Ireland’s vacant and derelict housing.

Urban Regeneration and a Town Centres First approach is a long-standing area of Green Party policy.

Senator Pauline O’Reilly added;

“Living over the shop and the benefits it brings to communities has been a planning discussion for decades. However, it is my view that building regulations are too complex and often act as a barrier to the viability of smaller projects. We need to streamline this process, and this report spells out how to do this, how we support local trade and businesses and how we make our towns and villages places that people want to live in again.”

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